And After All Stand

31st October – 1st November

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armour so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground…..

Ephesians 6:13-14a

We are not called to be back seat Christians. We are called to stand and fight the good fight on the front lines. That is not to say that we should go looking for trouble with an arrogant and defiant attitude, but rather it is to say that when trouble does come, we are prepared because we have been armed with the tools to stand against the enemy and to resist him “in the time of evil.” So often, we try to fight the enemy in our strength and forget that we have access not only to the tools to withstand him but a Father who is infinitely more powerful than the best the enemy has to offer.

The NLT version of this verse wonderfully describes the result of a child of God, bought with the blood of Christ and armed with the armour of God; After the battle, they still are standing firmly! How amazing. Throughout the bible there are so many examples of mighty warriors in faith, who have been able to withstand the best the enemy has thrown at them, because they were well equipped with the armour of God. Take Daniel for example; thrown into the lions den and was found without even a scratch. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; thrown into the fiery furnace and didn’t even smell of smoke when they were let out. Gideon; faced a huge task of defeating an enemy around 100,000 times bigger than his and came out victorious. Paul; bitten by a deadly snake on the island of Malta, yet still carried on preaching and healing the sick. Peter; imprisoned on numerous occasions and walked out a free man.

All these are great examples of the victory we have in Christ, not only in the physical realm but also in the Spiritual. Let stand firm in the grace, love and power of Christ, well equipped with the armour of God and completely reliant on Christ for every battle!

Be Strong In The Lord

30th October

A Final Word: Be strong in the Lord and His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armour so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities in the un-seen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the Heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:10-12

Have you ever lit a match in a dark room? Isn’t it interesting that just a small flame can bring light to a whole room. Even in the darkest of places (spiritually) our light can shine so bright that the darkness will have to flee! It is the light in us that comes from God the Father!!

Today’s verse contains so much theology and truth yet there is one things that stands out above it all… We can and must stand firm in the power of God’s might against the war that is waged against us, followers of Jesus. Yet this battle cannot be fought with swords and guns, but rather by the power of the believer, secure in Christ and armed with pure minds, secure in our identity in Christ, armed with truth (about God and how He sees us) and the Word of God to fight for us!

It is imperative that we start each day in submission to Jesus and filled with the Holy Spirit. Let us not take for granted the battle we face in our daily lives. More importantly let us remember the victory that we live in; The victory won by Jesus for our sakes. It is in His Name that demons flee. We are in Christ and He is in us. That means we are on the winning side… always!

God is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all!”

1 John 1:5b

The Light Shines In The Darkness

29th October

For once you were full of of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For the light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

Ephesians 5:8-9

The Halloween season always seems like a spiritually dark time of year. Not only do many dress up in scary costumes and play trick or treat, but underneath it all, it is a night that is celebrated by many in the realm of darkness. Sometimes you can even sense the darkness in the atmosphere. However…. There is no need to fear.

Paul strongly writes that once (before Christ) we were also part of that darkness, yet now we are alive in Christ, we are full of God’s light that breaks through darkness and exposes the darkness. The light that is in us is the Spirit of God and the victory of Jesus. We can walk boldly in that light, not fearing death and darkness, nor any power of the enemy. Jesus has overcome all things and because He lives in us, that means that we too can enjoy the blessings of Christ’s power and LIGHT!

Let us change our approach to the Halloween season, from fear to victory, and from darkness to light. We have the victory in Jesus. There is nothing to fear. Moreover, let us change the spiritual atmosphere in our neighbourhoods by letting our light shine so brightly, that it exposes the darkness and the darkness will have to flee. After all, as John also mentions in His gospel….

The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness can NEVER extinguish it.”

John 1:4-5

Imitators Of Christ

28th October

Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music in to the Lord in your hearts.

Ephesians 5:18-19

Part of imitating Christ is knowing what not to do. Ephesians is full of wise council on this subject, yet it is always presented in a way that is not condemning but rather an encouragement to lead us into Godly living. We want to be imitators of Christ in all we do, not only please God but to bring glory to His Name. Furthermore, living a God fearing life brings happiness, joy and freedom rather than the chains of bondage that sinful lifestyles lead to; as today’s verse rightly warns… being drunk on wine only leads to ruined lives.

Paul encourages the church in Ephesus to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It is through being filled daily with the Holy Spirit that we can enjoy the fullness of all God has for us and that our lifestyles become more like His. How amazing would it be to see churches world wide, united together by the love of Christ, being filled with the Spirit, ‘singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among’ themselves and individually making music to God in their hearts. It is then that we become a sweet aroma to Christ and to others around us. It is then that people recognise that there is more to life than reckless, sinful lifestyles and reach out for hope.

May we show grace to all those suffering in the enemies grasp. Let us show the same grace to them as we have been shown by Christ Jesus so we can reach out to them in loving kindness. After all, if we are to be imitators of Christ, then that is what He did when He was on the earth.

Christ Has Set The Standard

27th October

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour. Instead be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you..

Ephesians 4:31-32

Our challenge or even “commission” is to love Christ as He loves us and love each other with that same love. We are His ambassadors on this earth; His hands and His feet. Verse 30 even tells us that He has put His own seal on us, on those whom He has identified as His own. However, in reality what does that look like? Can we really be beacons for Christ?

Through God’s grace we can… Jesus has set the standard of Godly living for us to follow and although we may never reach Jesus’ level of holiness, we are commanded to be imitators of Christ in all we do nonetheless. Moreover, it is because Christ has set the standard of love through His life that we can have something to follow. Verse 31 proclaims that it because we are forgiven by God through Christ’s sacrifice for us, that we can be kind, tender-hearted and forgive others too.

The more we know how much we are forgiven and loved by God, the more we can learn to forgive and love others too. Through that understanding, our lifestyle begins to change as we look to become more like Christ in word and deed. Yet all is only accomplished by the grace of God in our lives!

The New Nature Of A Spirit Filled Believer

26th October

..throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.

Ephesians 4:22-24

Paul was writing this letter to the church in Ephesus not only encourage their faith but to also teach them how to live as renewed believers in Christ. There was a tendency in the church for the believers to keep going back to their old sinful ways of living. Paul, in addressing this issue, encourages the believers to ‘throw off’ their old sinful natures and old ways of living. Throwing off, means that you are making a decision to not let something cling to you or be on you. It is a decision that you want to undress yourself from your previous lifestyle, becoming completely vulnerable before God and then allow Him to cloth you in your new nature, clothing made from the righteousness of Christ.

Our old sinful nature leads only to death and disappointment. It is corrupted by lust, deception and all works of the enemy. Yet in Christ there in fullness of joy, freedom and grace. Let us not return to ‘our‘ old ways but allow Christ’s work of redemption and the Holy Spirit’s work of renewal to transform our lives. Let daily come before God to renew us and make us more like Him. Let the Holy Spirit renew our thoughts and attitudes (for it is God’s work alone that make us whole). Let us run away from the temptations that try to attach themselves to us again. Moreover, let us walk and live in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the victory of the cross. As Paul encouraged the church in Ephesus “Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused… But that isn’t what you learned about Christ….Instead let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”

I Will Sing About Your Power

24 – 25th October

Weekend Edition

But as for me, I will sing about Your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about Your unfailing love. For You have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress. O my Strength, to You I sing praises, for you, O God, are my Refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love.

Psalm 59:16-17

David amazingly wrote these words when King Saul, in a jealous rage, sent soldiers to watch David’s house in order to kill him. He wrote this in the valley. He wrote when going through pain. Yet his sure foundation was God. It always was. He only ever put his trust in God. He knew that there was no other place where he could find safety than in the presence of Almighty God, in the refuge of His loving arms. Moreover, David daily reminded himself of this fact. Daily, each morning, he would sing about the power of God’s unfailing love. God, was his refuge and strength.

We too can follow the lead of David. When the storm rages around us, even if the storm is from our own doings, let us remember than God our refuge and strength is full of unfailing love. Our world might shake, yet below our feet is an unshakeable foundation than cannot be moved; we just need to stand on it in faith! Let us daily remind ourselves through songs of praise, that God is full of unfailing love, a refuge in times of trouble and firm foundation in whom we find strength and safety. Let those words not just be empty words said out of repetition but rather let us believe with our hearts that God is truly where our help comes from.

There Is None Like You

23rd October

There Is None Like You

For there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.

Ephesians 4:5-6

Today I wanted to share the lyrics to a song that has greatly encouraged my heart. It talks of the struggle we face but the foundation we have in Jesus. Let us take courage today that God is our firm foundation in whom we have a faith that cannot be shaken. Even when the storm rages we can lift our hands to Him.

VERSE 1
When my world is shaking
And the storm is breaking
I lift my hands to You
I lift my hands to You

VERSE 2

I will not grow weary

For Your hope is in me

I fix my eyes on You

I fix my eyes on You

PRE-CHORUS
Your faithfulness
Casts away my fears
For God You are my strong foundation

Now I will stand
And have my peace
For God Your grace is everlasting

CHORUS

God You are beside me

Always there to lead me

I will not be shaken

I put my trust in You

Jesus You’re amazing

Glorious everlasting

I will sing forever

Lord there is none like You

Lord there is none like You

BRIDGE
I’ll sing forever
I’ll sing forever
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

* Song is from JPCC (None like you)

Unity In God and In The Church

22nd October

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each others faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourself united together in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.

Ephesians 4:2-3

We can only love others because we have been loved by God first. It is only when we experience and come to the knowledge of God’s perfect love for us that we can even begin to love others. It is only when we realise that God loved us when we still sinners and keeps on loving us in spite of our faults and failures, that we begin to understand how great the love of God is for us. It is with that same love that we are commanded to love others with.

It is that love that helps us be gentle, humble and patient. It is that love that acknowledges people’s faults yet still loves them. After all, it is these characteristics that God shows towards us and so much more. His love is the standard by which we should love others with.

In addition to God’s love, we have been given the Holy Spirit as a gift to lead and guide us in our daily lives. It is His power that enables us to love with Jesus’ love and His power that binds us together in peace. This is why it is so important to be filled daily with the Spirit. Moreover, let us God daily reveal more of His love towards to us, so that we can understand how much we are loved by God and love others with that same love. Unity in the body comes from being united in Christ’s love and being empowered by the Holy Spirit.

Living Our Lives For Christ

21st October

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.

Ephesians 4:1

Paul’s heart for God’s church to grow in Spiritual maturity is clear to see throughout all of his letters. No matter where he was, in prison, in chains or free, he was always encouraging God’s church to deepen their roots in their relationship with Him and live lives set apart for Christ’s glory.

That same call is as true today and is was when this letter was written. Just as the church in Ephesus was a beacon of light in a dark and hopeless world, so it is with today’s church too. The security we have is that all victory comes from Christ. It is Christ who gives us the strength to persevere, to stand firm and live lives worthy of our calling we have received from God. Furthermore, each of us, through God’s grace, have been given a personal calling by God, equipped for the cause with His gifts and commissioned by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let us live for Him in all we do by His grace and power. Let us lean on God daily for our strength and the Holy Spirit for guidance. We can, through the power of Jesus’ resurrection, live lives worthy of the call we have received.